I've played and owned many guitars. Whilst they all played well I always felt there was something missing, I couldn't get away from the idea that something mass produced couldn't really reflect what I wanted. I was fitting in to the straitjacket of what the big manufacturers decided we could/should be playing. I'm not a super axe hero so the chances of one of ‘the big boys’ calling me up to offer me a signature guitar of my choosing was none, nil and nada but I began to realise that getting the right luthier and having the right conversation could get you the guitar you've always dreamt of having. And speaking plainly, thats what I now have.
I contacted Tom whilst he was apprentice to Ervin Somogyi in California. We had many conversations about the guitar I had in my mind, how it would sound, what size it would be and the woods we would use. Tom is very good at picking up up on the essence of your vision. I'm as creative as whoever wrote the lyrics to the Spice Girls music so for me to get across what it I was after must have taxed Tom's understanding but he got it and we started working together on the design. It's brilliant to be able to say "working together" on a project like this because when you open that lovely Hoffee case for the first time and see that guitar you feel an immediate connection. Having spent hours looking at guitars and playing them in various guitar emporiums I can tell you, there is nothing like the feeling you get when you pick up a guitar as beautiful as the one you commission.
Ultimately, the question many might find themselves asking is why have a guitar made when you can go in to a shop and pick one up for a couple of grand? I guess those of us in the know that have taken the step, crossed that line now own something very special.
Comparing a high end factory built guitar to my Sands 00 is like comparing Billy the Bookcase (see Ikea) with something made by Thomas Chippendale. I can’t put into words how good the craftsmanship is. Tom was making high end furniture before he started his apprenticeship with Ervin, he was already an accomplished woodworker and it shows in the attention to detail. Only when you get one of these guitars in your hands can you really appreciate the hours of work and absolute care that went into crafting them. This is to say nothing of the sound, simply put, it is sublime. Whatever you play seems to really take on a presence and again I find it difficult to put into words how the sound projects from around the guitar. The thing sounds enormous.
I’ve had the pleasure of owning my 00 for 6 months now and I’ve realised that there is far greater lasting value in helping to create something unique, something that can transcend the transactional cost value equation you utilise every time you buy something mass produced. Break out, do something different, these guitars will outlast us and imagine how great it will be when someone picks up your old guitar up in the future and says "Wow, its a Tom Sands, I wonder who had it made?"